Trump budget would shut down Tampa Amtrak service

Amtrak: 23 states to lose service, including Fla.
Posted at 11:14 PM, May 23, 2017

A White House budget proposal may mean the end for all Amtrak rides in Florida. 

It's all aboard at Tampa Union Station, but the question is for how much longer. 

"I will be devastated because it's the only way I travel to see my children." said rider Debbie Fontaine. 

President Trump's FY 2018 budget calls for reducing Amtrak's funding by 50 percent. 

Amtrak tells ABC Action News, that would shut down service in 23 states, including Florida. 

Margaret Walker says Amtrak's ticket prices, plus no fees for luggage helps seniors who travel on a budget. 

"It's so economical too and it's so relaxing for me," said Walker. 

Nearly one million Floridians rode Amtrak last year, with about 110,00 riders passing through Tampa Union Station. 

But the railroad tells ABC Action News, overall ridership is down 7 percent across the state from the year before. 

Stetson student Zach Gunn says it's Amtrak's job, not the White House, to save the service. 

"Maybe Amtrak can find a way to revive itself, I hope so," said Gunn. "But that's up to them as a company to decide."

Most waiting for the train Tuesday night in Tampa said they hope Washington's budget ax spares Amtrak. 

Rick Seifert, a Marine veteran, says it's the only way he can easily travel with his PTSD service dog.

"I took that train ride and I'll never fly again," said Seifert. "I mean it was the neatest time of my life." 

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson released a statement Tuesday stating the proposed budget cut "doesn't make sense." He went on to say, "Eliminating Amtrak service in Florida not only affects nearly one million Floridians who ride the train each year, it would have a real impact on our tourism-driven economy by making it harder for folks to come visit our state."